A slubber at the Rawdon woollen mill.

When Emma Pye married Abraham Hargreaves in 1870 in Yorkshire, Abraham’s occupation was given as “Slubber”. ” What on earth does a slubber do?” Thought I.

I discovered Abraham worked at the woollen mill in Rawdon, Yorkshire and that a slubber’s job was to remove slubs or imperfections from the wool.

Emma and Abraham’s children also worked at the mill as mule piecers and condenser minders.

Emma Pye was born in 1838 at Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, the daughter of William Pye (my ancestor’s brother) and Mary Marshall.
Emma and Abraham Hargreaves had five children, David, Kate, Arthur, Jane and Stephen. Emma died in 1889.

Emma’s sister, Mary Marshall formerley Pye, also went to Rawdon where she married her second husband, Thomas Robert Stutton. Thomas also worked at the woollen mill. Mary died in 1776 and Thomas in 1877. Mary had two children, Clara and Mary Elizabeth Marshall.

In the history of Rawdon there is an interesting story about the Rev Samuel Marsden who on a trip to Australia obtained some merino wool which he took to the Rawdon woollen mill to have a suit made, King George saw the suit and commissioned one for himself.

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POW Limburg, Germany. Charles Burns.

As many of the Army records for World War One were destroyed during the London bombing of the second World War, it was great to discover that the newspaper, Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Gazette featured full page spreads during the first world war years of the local lads who were wounded, killed or missing. It featured photos of at least a dozen soldiers with a paragraph or two about each person.

My father’s English second cousin, Lance Corporal Charles Burns, the son of Mary Ann Pye and Zachariah Burns, was pictured in the newspaper. I knew that Charles Burns had died on 7 June, 1918 and had assumed that he had been killed in action, but this article revealed a different story.

It read, “Lance Corporal Charles Burns who has been missing since May 27, when he was in action with the Rifle Brigade, is now known by his parents … To be a prisoner of war at Limburg, Germany.”

I wonder if Charles was wounded when he was captured as he died within days of capture and cannot have been at the camp for long. An interesting detail about the camp at Limburg was that Irish prisoners were sent there in the attempt to recruit them to form an Irish Brigade in the German Army.

Charles Burns is buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille situated on the outskirts of Boulogne, France. This cemetery was only opened in the month of Charles’s death, therefore I am uncertain if Charles’s body was one of those reinterred here after the War.

The newspaper article was published on 2 November 1918 which was five months after Charles had died. It is sad to think that his parents were still hopeful of his wellbeing. The article also reported that Charles’s brother, George Burns, had been wounded and returned to home service in England.

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Copying information from this blog.

I have just visited the convictrecords.com.au website and noticed that someone has made a contribution to the website (for John Pye of The Lady Kennaway) that is directly copied from my article on John Pye in this Blog and from my book, “Tapestry, John Pye of Windsor, NSW.”

Please respect my copyright ownership on all articles on this Blog and in my books. If you wish to use any content from here or my books You MUST acknowledge me as the author. Or at least use your own wording.

Elizabeth Pye

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Nickson family

I have just discovered that Baron Nickson KBE is a sixth cousin once removed. He only ascended to the peerage in 1994.

Our common ancestor is Joseph Pye who married Catherine Reynolds in 1703 at Seighford, Staffordshire. Their daughter Mary Pye married William Nickson in 1726. Mary’s brother, Thomas Pye, the pauper, was my ancestor.

The Nickson line down to the Baron is as follows.

Mary Pye and William Nickson’s son William Nickson married Elizabeth Lymer. Their son John Nickson (a baker in Stafford like his father) married Sarah Matthews. (John’s brother George married Mary Peake and their son George Nickson married his first cousin Mary Nickson, John’s youngest daughter).

John and Sarah’s eldest son, William Nickson married Eliza Wright. William worked initially as a baker before moving to Manchester where he became a Manchester merchant. William and Eliza’s second son, John worked for his aunt and uncle Mary and George Nickson who had moved to Lancashire as provision merchants. George and John formed George and John Nickson and Company Limited. They had businesses in Liverpool, London, Manchester and America.

John Nickson married Isabella Wigley and their son Richard Wigley Nickson married Mary Hilda Margaret Scholefield. Their son Geoffrey Wigley Nickson being the father of the Baron.

John and Isabella’s eldest son was the Rev Right George Nickson, Bishop of Bristol for 18 years.

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Mary Leddin

Mary Leddin was a daughter of Patrick Leddin and Margaret Gleeson of Ballincaroona, Hospital parish, Limerick county.  Mary Leddin of Ballincaroona married in 1831 to John Kiely of Ballycahill, Hospital, the witnesses to the marriage were Patrick Leddin of Ballincaroona, her father, Denis Gleeson of Tipperary, Tipperary, her uncle, and James of Kilfrush.  James’ surname was missed but it may be Gubbins.

Mary and John had at least six children, who were baptized in the parish of Hospital.  Mary’s brother William Leddin and his wife Johanna Condon were baptism sponsors to a couple of the children.

John Kiely is noted in 1846 as having ‘gone to America’ it is unknown whether his family went with him.



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Pye family tree

Thomas Pye and Margaret his wife, were the parents of a large family.  They lived at Alstone in the parish of Haughton, Staffordshire.

John Pye was their eldest son.  John and his wife Joane had seven children.  John and Joane died within a month of each other in 1570 and their names are the first records listed in the Haughton burial register.

Alexander Pye

Alexander was born during the reign of Henry VIII, however, Queen Elizabeth 1 was the ruling monarch throughout the majority of Alexander’s life.

Alexander and his wife Elizabeth had ten children, five of whom died in childhood.  Two of their surviving children married.  Anne Pye married Humphrey Cox and Thomas Pye married Elizabeth Russell.  Alexander Pye was a Yeoman and was a tenant farmer for Sir Ralph Bouchier, the lord of Haughton Manor.  Alexander farmed tenements at Brazenhill and other areas within the parish of Haughton.

Alexander was buried on the 4 April, 1595 and Elizabeth was buried on 23 March, 1613.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 25 May, 1578 Haughton-Buried 26 March, 1629 Haughton.

Thomas was Alexander and Elizabeth Pye’s eldest surviving son.  He married Elizabeth Russell on 24 April, 1608 at St Giles church, Haughton.  Thomas does not appear in any other records other than the parish registers.  Thomas and Elizabeth had two children:  Frances Pye who married Robert Cox and John Pye who married Anne.

John Pye

Baptised 8 July, 1611 at Haughton.

John Pye and his wife Anne had eight children all born in Haughton during the time of England’s Civil War between the Royalists for King Charles 1 and the Roundheads under Oliver Cromwell.

Yeoman John Pye appears to have been quite a successful tenant farmer.  His cottage contained a parlour, kitchen and buttery, all with bedroom chambers above, one boasted a featherbed.  John owned a dozen or so cattle, 3 mares and a foal, 3 swine and 17 sheep.  He grew corn and hay and had an orchard and garden.  There was also a weaver’s loom and two spinning wheels in the home which the women in the family used.

When John Pye died he bequeathed money to the parish “to be used to buy shoes for the poorest widows and fatherless children”.  Along with the bequests of his two eldest sons, John Jnr and Robert, the Charity that was formed has continued in perpetuity and from 1942 seventeen amalgamated Charities have formed the Abbots Bromley United Charities which continues to support Youth groups and purchase equipment for the handicapped.

John Pye died in the parish of Abbots Bromley after the majority of his children moved to that parish.  He was buried on 6 September, 1681.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 26 April, 1646 Haughton – Buried 21 March, 1728 Uttoxeter.

Thomas Pye was the third son of John and Anne Pye.  Thomas began his working life as a Tailor but was later termed a Yeoman.  Thomas married his first wife, Anne Walkelate on 2 February, 1670 in St Nicholas church, Abbots Bromley.  They had four children before Anne’s early death.  Thomas married his second wife, Abigail Foster, on 24 September, 1682.  They had three children, two dying as infants.

Thomas farmed tenements named Hunter’s Croft, Little Heifield and Kue Hurst, that may have been a part of Lord William Bagot’s estate.  These plots of land formed part of the marriage settlement between Thomas and Abigail.  Thomas Pye was named as executor in a number of his relations’ Wills, however, it was his nephew, another Thomas Pye, the son of his elder brother Robert Pye, who inherited the family land and property.

Joseph Pye

Baptised 2 February, 1679 Abbots Bromley – Buried 4 January, 1758 Stockton.

Joseph Pye was the youngest child of Thomas Pye and his first wife, Anne.  Joseph’s elder brother died unmarried at 26 years of age and therefore I assume Joseph inherited his father’s lands in Abbots Bromley and was a yeoman tenant farmer.

Joseph married Catherine Reynolds on 24 February, 1703 and they had nine children, two dying as infants.  Five of Joseph and Catherine’s children married, three of whom had children.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 3 May, 1722 Abbots Bromley – Buried 18 January, 1793 Baswich.

Thomas Pye was the youngest child and only surviving son of Joseph and Catherine Pye.  It is not known what happened to cause the turn-a-round in the Pye’s fortunes but Thomas worked as an annual labourer, meaning he could only get manual and agricultural labouring contracts for a year at a time.

Thomas Pye was about 53 years of age when he married Margaret Lightfoot on 24 December, 1775 in Drayton-in-the-Hales in County Shropshire.  They had seven children and settled in Baswich near Stafford in Staffordshire.  Thomas’s financial circumstances did not improve and he died a Pauper in 1793, leaving behind his wife and five surviving children.  Their two daughters were made Parish apprentices.

Joseph Pye

Born about 1776 – Buried 17 June, 1830 Baswich.

Joseph was the eldest child of Thomas and Margaret Pye.  Joseph Pye married Mary Wetton in St Mary’s church, Stafford on 28 February, 1797.  They had eleven children with the eldest two born in Baswich and the other nine in Rickerscote in the nearby parish of Castle Church.

Rickerscote was a rural hamlet and Joseph spent his life as an agricultural labourer.  Joseph and Mary both died in their early fifties leaving their younger children to be raised by their elder children, George and Mary.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 9 July, 1797 Baswich – Died 5 September, 1880 at Kirkstall, Victoria.

Thomas Pye was the eldest child of Joseph and Mary Pye.  He began labouring at a brick yard as a child.  Thomas married Alice Hall on 3 May, 1819 and they had five children.  They moved to Birmingham in Warwickshire where Alice died.  Thomas worked in a brickyard making tiles and bricks.  By 1836 Thomas was charged with house breaking and transported to New South Wales for life.

Thomas Pye was assigned to Captain Sylvester John Brown and travelled with his master to the district of Port Philip Bay in 1838.  Thomas met his second wife, Mary Sampson, at the Brown’s dairy and they married on 16 October, 1843 at Melbourne.  The Pyes were employed by Brown’s son, Thomas Alexander Brown, and travelled with him to the district that was later known as Bessiebelle, where their first two children were born.  When Thomas received his Ticket-of-Leave the family moved to Port Fairy and a further five children were born to them.  Three of their daughters died young, the other remained single and the three sons married and produced large families.

Thomas Pye worked as a farmer and also grew wheat.  Mary Pye died at 62 years of age and Thomas Pye died at 83 years of age.

Joseph Pye

21 October, 1848 Port Fairy – 19 September, 1919 Died Port Fairy, Victoria

Joseph Pye was the youngest son of Thomas Pye and his second wife, Mary.  Joseph spent his youth in Port Fairy prior to the family moving to Tower Hill then onto the village of Kirkstall.  Joseph married Mary Ann Wiseman on 26 September, 1876 and their first four children were born in Kirkstall before Joseph obtained land at Bessiebelle where the next ten children were born.  Joseph spent the remainder of his life working on his farm.

Joseph was a dedicated farmer and served a term on the local shire council lobbying to improve the opportunities for the community of Bessiebelle.  He was well known as an excellent conversationalist who knew and related the history of the district.

Thomas James Pye

Born 11 July, 1877 Kirkstall, Victoria – Died 17 July, 1939 Warrnambool, Victoria

Thomas James Pye was the eldest of the fourteen children of Joseph and Mary Ann Pye.  Thomas met his wife, Mary Gavin, at her parent’s property, whilst he and his brothers were on their thrashing machine round.

Thomas and Mary settled in Russell’s Creek and had thirteen children.  Thomas worked at the Nestles Milk Factory.  Thomas and Mary were a great example to their children of loving, caring parents who had a deep religious faith.  Thomas kept in touch with his many siblings as much as he was able and at one time rode his bicycle all the way from Warrnambool to Bessiebelle to visit them.  Thomas died on 17 July, 1939 at 62 years of age.

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The Green Petticoat

My ancestor Thomas Pye of Haughton married Elizabeth Russell in 1608.  When Elizabeth’s widowed sister, Mary Alsop died in 1634 she did not have much, but she bequeathed to her brother Thomas Russell, sister Jane, niece and nephew Frances and John Pye, one shilling each.  Another niece received all her chattells and cattells.
But to Elizabeth Pye Mary bequeathed one green petticoat.
I am sure there is some story behind the gift.  What is was can only be surmised.  Did Elizabeth admire the petticoat?  Was its value one shilling?  Whatever the circumstances I like to imagine Elizabeth wearing a bottle green petticoat, perhaps with a touch of hem showing beneath her outer skirt.

No plain linen petticoat for Elizabeth!

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